For the first time, physicists have demonstrated that information can flow through a diamond wire. In the experiment, electrons did not flow through diamond as they do in traditional electronics; rather, they stayed in place and passed along a magnetic effect called "spin" to each other down the wire—like a row of sports spectators doing "the wave."
Spin could one day be used to transmit data in computer circuits—and this new experiment, done at The Ohio State University, revealed that diamond transmits spin better than most metals in which researchers have previously observed the effect.
Researchers worldwide are working to develop so-called "spintronics," which could make computers simultaneously faster and more powerful.
Diamond has a lot going for it when it comes to spintronics, said lead investigator Chris Hammel, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Experimental Physics at Ohio State. It's hard, transparent, electrically insulating, impervious to environmental contamination, resistant to acids, and doesn't hold heat as semiconductors do.
"Basically, it's inert. You can't do anything to it. To a scientist, diamonds are kind of boring, unless you're getting engaged," Hammel said. "But it's interesting to think about how diamond would work in a computer."